Saturday, April 04, 2015

10 Years After: 2009 -- You're One Microscopic Cog In His Catastrophic Plan

The 10th blogiversary fundraiser continues with Inaugural Year of 2009. Or, as Conservatives quickly came to think of it, the Beginning Of All Recorded History.

In 2009, the various scams and dark majyks Richie Daley had used to keep his administration propped up started to pop their rivets.


And from time to time I wrote about it, apparently with enough skill and insight to get onto the radar and blogroll of some of Illinois' noble professional muckrakers.

Samples are available as you leave the 2009 Chicago Pavilion  here, here, here, here, here, here and, well, all over my archives like a rash

You're One Microscopic Cog

In His Catastrophic Plan
Enshrined and Protected by
His Spayed Right Hand.

(h/t Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Red Right Hand”)

Even while there is no denying the sheer comic-opera hilarity of watching the third largest city in the American Empire being run like Chico hustling Groucho at his Tutsi-Frutsi ice cream cart

it is also true that Chicago's ongoing Metergate farce contains certain timeless lesson in the dark art of municipal government that any grad student who is too lazy to read “The Prince” --
"Men shrink less from offending one who inspires love than one who inspires fear."
-- Niccolo Machiavelli
-- can mine for at least a coupla doctoral theses.

For example, if you’re not from here (or even if you are), you may not know that the government of Chicago was chartered as a “weak mayor system”, where the mayor is supposed to be more-or-less of a titular figurehead, and the City Council:
… possesses both legislative and executive authority. The council may appoint officials and must approve of mayoral nominations. The council also exercises primary control over the municipal budget.
Which may be great in theory, but is ridiculous in fact. The reason Da Machine can slither its corrupt tentacles into county and state government, suburban elections, and all the way to D.C. is that Da Mare has no opposition inside the City to worry about.



And this is entirely by design.

From scrambling his leadership team every few years, to investing his own band of perky Janissaries – 12-year-old interns fresh from the Harris School and loyal only to Hizzonner -- with imperial authority and cycling them through the system every year or so, to giving his department heads conflicting mandates and then pitting them against each other, to picking aldermen like Bozo the Clown picking out a pair of floppy shoes and a bright, red nose… Da Mare’s entire Administration has been a brilliant study in preemptively obliterating anything that even vaguely resembles a power-base outside of the 5th floor of City Hall.

Da Mare has spent his 20 years in office meticulously assembling a City Council that is weak, toothless and beholden to him for their political lives…

…and now that his tit is caught in a wringer entirely of his own making, his loudest and most petulant gripe is that a weak and toothless City Council didn’t stop him from doing it.

Hell, ask any averagely bright kid still young enough to believe in Santa Claus and the Cubs from any neighborhood in any ward in the city and even they know that no matter how many times the City Council pretends to shuffle the deck, their primary loyalty is to Da Mare.

And if Da Mare wants a particular card on top,

the card God damn well stays on top.

But that’s only half the joke.

The other half is how so open and public these arrangements have become. As Sean Connery’s character explains about another Emperor of the Windy City in “The Untouchables”:
“Mr. Ness, everybody knows where the booze is. The problem isn't finding it, the problem is who wants to cross Capone."
Virtually everyone goes right along with the puppet show – willing to nod and say “Sure, yeah, whatevah.” -- right up until their own cold, hard cash is on the line. And of course by then it is far too late:

"And what physicians say about disease is applicable here: that at the beginning a disease is easy to cure but difficult to diagnose; but as time passes, not having been treated or recognized at the outset, it becomes easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. The same thing occurs in affairs of state; for by recognizing from afar the diseases that are spreading in the state (which is a gift given only to a prudent ruler), they can be cured quickly; but when they are not recognized and are left to grow to the extent that everyone recognizes them, there is no longer any cure."
-- Niccolo Machiavelli

And this is what elevates Da Mare’s most recent thin-skinned, pouty outbursts from comical to tragic and genuinely frightening: the fact that Hizzoner’s tired, old “magic trick” of blaming the City Council and playing three-card Monte with meaningless, inscrutable charts is now being performed with see-through components and real-time narration explaining almost step-by-step

exactly how the “trick” is being done.

That he is so used to doing and saying whatever the fuck he wants and getting away with it -- that after 20 years, the corruption has so thoroughly metastasized -- he no longer sees any reason to provide anything but the tiniest and most ridiculously transparent figleaf to cover the workings of the Machine any more.

Proud member of The Windy Citizen

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